Unknown Fate has released, and the action adventure title proves to be an interesting take on the genre, albeit one with a few issues. The game is available in both a standard format and in VR, so I tested both to see how it stack up as a stand alone PC title, as well as amongst its goggled brethren.
Taking control of Richard, the game opens on a normal looking suburban street in the pouring rain, before quickly thrusting the player into a distorted, yet recognisable (to Richard, at least) world with floating bricks and large strange features (including a flying whale). The game itself is a mix of puzzle and platformer, as you hop between larger areas via small floating wooden surfaces, and work out how to progress to the next area. Essentially, the goal of the story is to understand why Richard finds himself where he does, and why he can’t remember anything about his “normal” former life. The overarching story does work well, borrowing some well known narrative devices to keep the game moving forward. The creatures we meet are both interesting and unnerving in equal measure, and they do fit well in the game’s setting.
Built in Unity, the game has managed to construct a very visually appealing landscape for players to explore, where the bright lights contrast with the more subtle tones of the wider setting. This blend means that the game never feels a chore to explore, either on the game pad or Virtual Reality where, in my opinion, this release really comes into its own. As a point of comparison, it is most reminiscent of the world inhabited by The Outsider in the Dishonored series. The game certainly attempts to take this one back to basics, with a very simple combat system (which you won’t have to employ that often) and no sign of an inventory or journal/log in sight.
After a fairly significant amount of play time, the game does have a few problems, particularly in the form of glitches to both the landscape and creature AI. On one occasion my character became irreparably stuck on what seemed to be a flat section of landscape, whilst on another, I came across a creature which had all the same semblances of its counterparts, but which was also firmly stuck (save some relatively off putting twitching). Don’t get me wrong, these glitches and bugs are infrequent and by no means game breaking, but they do put a dampener on an otherwise clean experience.
In virtual reality, this takes on a life of its own. Where the in-game locations were interesting and unusual, they become intense and visceral, in spite of the game’s moderate pace. The control scheme is suited to how the title is set up, with puzzle elements actually easier to identify and interact with in this view. The creatures suddenly manifest as big, lanky companions and foes, leading to an overall experience more similar to a traditional horror VR game with mystery elements.
Whilst it would be difficult to say this game is a groundbreaking entry into an already saturated genre, it does have a great number of merits that make it worth the £10.19/$12.74 it’s currently retailing for on Steam. If you have a virtual reality device then you should absolutely involve yourself in this title that way, as it is a superior experience to the standardised version of the game. The story strolls along nicely, and the puzzle mechanics are intuitive, if not ingenious.
Score: 6.8/10 (Standard Edition) – 7.8/10 (VR)